Naturalism In English Literature

Better Essays
In the 19th Century, Society in America was founded on the standards of racial prejudice and segregation. As a result, people of color were recognized as unequal and unimportant to social settings. However, People took a stand against the injustice of the law and created the impactful Naturalistic Movement. Naturalism implies a philosophical position in which many authors of literature exposed the harsh truth of Racism and the effects of the environment on the individual. Through the works of Charles Chesnutt, Mark Twain, and Paul Dunbar, the illusion of race is addressed using irony, characterization, and naturalistic elements in literature. Race is seen as a mental “state of mind” through irony. For example, Mark Twain uses his witty humor…show more content…
For example, in “Pudd’nhead Wilson”, Mark Twain uses direct characterization to describe Roxy and her son Chambers (Tom). “To all intents and purposes Roxy was as white as anybody, but the one-sixteenth of her which was black out-voted the other fifteen parts and made her a negro.” pg. 7. Twain intentionally uses precise diction in Roxy’s origin of race to show his audience the issues concerning racism and slavery. The fact that Roxy and Chambers have a very small part of African- American blood and are both slaves at birth show the satire behind Twain’s message. Similarly, in “A matter of Principle”, Charles Chesnutt characterizes Clayton and his daughter Alice as “half-black”. However, Clayton has fallen to social norms and desires to only be white. He and Alice Self-loath being part African-American because of society’s racism and societal perception to race. Also, Actions and speech define a person’s personality. In “Pudd’nhead Wilson”, Tom is utterly shocked after discovering that he is a slave from birth.” He is white, and I am his chattel, his property, his goods, and he can sell me, just as he could his dog.” Pg.47. Twain shows Tom’s reaction and cleverly displays a message of the hypocrisy of race. “why is this awful difference made between white and black?” pg. 46. Twain indirectly asks his readers their beliefs on slavery and race through Tom’s speech. In a “Web of Circumstance”, Chesnutt characterizes the jury and judge. “I can only regard your crime as the result of a tendency to offenses of this nature, a tendency which is only too common among your people.” pg.311. Through his opinionated deliverance of speech, the judge represents society in the 19th century. Race is seen as a specific ideal image. Chesnutt persuades his readers to examine the truth in their own communities and
Get Access